Azure SQL Database: The Best PaaS offering for SQL Server
November 06, 2018

Azure SQL Database: The Best PaaS offering for SQL Server

Erik Ralston | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Azure SQL Database

Azure SQL Database provides an easily managed PaaS-based persistence layer for all our web apps, including internal business systems and the products we sell to our customers. It provides a scalable, globally distributed database engine for our development team without a large admin overhead.
  • Providing a SQL Server instance at low entry-level cost and global high-availability
  • Elastic offerings so SaaS applications can cheaply have one-database-per-customer approach for high data segregation
  • Intelligence performance recommendations from both Azure and the SQL Server engine itself
  • Intelligent recommendations are not a silver bullet, since they often fail to detect opportunities that are obvious to a human database admin with any experience.
  • Certain advanced database features - most recently I found: column store indices - are locked behind pricing tiers that one would naively assume are just about performance.
  • With easily managed secondaries and point-in-time restoration, Azure SQL Database provides a very robust set of built-in features for disaster recovery that have saved us a lot of work making our own.
  • Integration with Azure DevOps and the Azure Management APIs that allow automation of resources and deployments has allowed us to run for years without a full-time DevOps person
  • Elastic database capabilities have allowed for significant cost savings of our infrastructure that now boasts thousands of SQL database running on the platform.
Amazon Relational Database Service is the other obvious competitor. We were already in Azure, so it's not a serious contender for our business due to that bias already, but I do personally find the marketing and documentation of RDS more intimidating to sort through.
Azure SQL Database, like most PaaS platforms, is best when you want to save money on human resources by paying a little more for computing resources. Especially cases where the developer is already deep into the Microsoft stack, such as situations where you're already using an Azure Web App for hosting your application. In these case, SQL Database is a no-brainer decision. Obviously, Azure SQL Database is less appropriate for Big Data applications (where a NoSQL technology or at least Azure SQL Data Warehouse would make more sense) and it's delivering SQL Server, so lots of open source stacks would be averse to it (e.g. Wordpress and most PHP technologies where they want MySQL).

Azure SQL Database Feature Ratings

Automatic software patching
Database scalability
Automated backups
Database security provisions
Monitoring and metrics
Automatic host deployment